MANILA -- Actor Coco Martin, who has been dubbed the "prince of Philippine primetime television," is taking on the "King" as he returns with a new teleserye.
On Monday, Martin was announced as the lead star of "Ang Probinsiyano," which is based on the 1997 movie of the same title about Kardo, a provincial cop, who assumes the identity of his twin brother who was killed in a drug bust operation.
Martin will play the iconic role originally portrayed by the late Fernando Poe Jr. with Angeline Quinto and Bella Padilla as his leading ladies.
"Sobra akong nagpapasalamat dahil sa ipinagkatiwala nila sa akin ang kauna-unahang tribute ko para kay FPJ na 'Ang Probinsiyano,'" Martin said in a press conference on Monday.
"Hinding-hindi ko bibiguin ang kapulisan, ang ABS-CBN, sila Ma'am Charo (Santos-Concio, ABS-CBN chief executive and president). Gagawin ko po ang best ko para magampanan ko ng tama itong proyekto na ito," he said.
This is not the first time Martin is playing a cop. Just recently, he played a PNP commando in a tribute episode of "Maalaala Mo Kaya" for the 44 SAF members who were killed in Mamasapano clash last January.
What makes "Ang Probinsiyano" even more special for Martin is that Poe's widow, veteran actress Susan Roces, will play his grandmother in the upcoming soap.
"'Di ko makakalimutan nung 'Walang Hanggang' days sabi niya (Roces), 'Alam mo mayroong mga pelikula si FPJ na bagay sa iyo,'" Martin recalled.
That comment stayed with Martin such that when he was discussing his next project with network executives, he brought up "Ang Probinsyano" when he found out that they want him to play a cop.
"Doon na nag-start ang lahat," the actor said.
Martin also vowed to do his best to give justice to his role.
"Napakaswerte ko po na kahit paano ay magagamapanan ko ang isang pelikula na talagang tumatak sa ating mga Filipino na ginawa ni FPJ. Siyempre malaki po ang pressure sa akin na dapat kahit paano, alam kong never kong mapapantayan pero kahit paano ay mabigyan ko ng justice ang character ko at sana ay tangkilikin din ng mga manonood ang gagawin naming soap opera," he said.
For her part, Roces said: "Wala akong masabi kung hindi maraming, maraming salamat sa ABS-CBN sa pagbibigay nila nang pagpupugay sa pamamagitan nang pagtatanghal sa isa sa mga subject na malapit sa kanyang puso. Madaming ginawang pelikula si FPJ tungkol sa kapulisan, malapit kayo sa puso ni FPJ."